Howard University's investigation has concluded that $369,000 had been misappropriated by six employees who were terminated last year. A full report by the university identifies how they "double dipped" by receiving both tuition assistance and university grants between 2011 and 2016.
In a cover letter to the report, President Wayne A.I. Frederick wrote, “Howard University is committed to uncovering any impropriety in the administration of university-provided financial aid and federal student aid, to remediating all problems identified during this investigation, and to maintaining a robust compliance program to prevent any inappropriate dealings in the administration of financial aid."
A Washington Post article reports that the university tried to avoid going public before the review was completed, but an article posted online made this impossible. Student protests, which went on for more than a week, also may have sped up the timing.
- What business writing principles does the report demonstrate and fail to demonstrate? How could the report be improved?
- Assess the president's cover letter. Who are his primary and secondary audiences, and what are the communication objectives? How well does the letter achieve those objectives?
- What can the university do now to restore trust?
- How well does the university take responsibility for the situation?